10 Assumptions You Make That Kill Your Resume

There’s a lot of resume writing advice out there–here are a few common tips that need to be debunked.

10 Assumptions You Make That Kill Your Resume
[Image: Flickr user N i c o l a]

Whether you are updating your resume and happy in your job or revamping it to land a new gig, you should check that you aren’t following these commonly held, but false, myths.


Myth 1: Executive resume summaries are the same as objectives.

Objectives only state what you want (likely the job you are applying for). Summaries outline how what you offer can meet the needs of the prospective employer. Simply put: nobody really cares what you want only.

Myth 2: Your resume needs charts and graphs to be impressive.

While I put charts and graphs in executive resumes for some of my clients, it is not the norm. Most clients can have achievements properly outlined in well-written content. Charts and graphs are often not digested by applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Myth 3: Stuffing keywords into your executive resume gets through the ATS.

While this may actually work, when the recruiter reads your keyword-stuffed resume, they will think you are spending more time trying to game the system versus outlining why you are qualified. Not every company uses an ATS, but most do in some way. So while you don’t want to stuff your resume with key words, it is important to optimize it with a few relevant keywords.

Myth 4: You Should put all of your experience on your resume

As a general rule, I do not go back more than 15 years. Even if what you did 25 years ago is applicable to what you are targeting today, no company will hire you for what you did 25 years ago. I believe, in most cases, putting 20+ years experience on your resume only dates you and does not really help your candidacy.

Myth 5: Your resume should be no more than one page

It is never guaranteed that your resume will get read no matter how long or short it is. Keep your audience interested in five- to 10-second increments to keep the scrolling and reading. If that is one page, so be it. If that is three pages, okay.


Myth 6: A great resume is the magic elixir to landing a job.

A great resume with an excellent job search plan, robust network, superb follow-up skills and an amazing attitude land you a job. The most fabulous resume alone will not get you a job.

Myth 7: Stretch your dates to reduce or eliminate your employment gaps–no one will find out.

You can find out what your neighbor ate for dinner last night on the Internet. You don’t think today’s background-check technology can find out that you are fudging dates? Yes, they may not find out, but they also may find out. Don’t do it.

Myth 8: Put your references at the bottom of your resume.

Put your references on a well-crafted reference sheet. And don’t put: ”references available upon request” at the bottom either. It is implied.

Myth 9: Use the same resume for all of your job applications and submissions.

Customize each submission showing how you meet the needs of the job description. One size does not fit all.

Myth 10: My old resume will work just fine.

The same way your shoulder-padded jacket or skinny tie will work at the company party this weekend. Go for it.


Lisa Rangel is the Managing Director of Chameleon Resumes, an Executive Resume Writing and Job Search Service. She has been featured on BBC, Investor’s Business Daily,, Fox News, Yahoo Finance, US News, Good Morning America, and is a moderator for LinkedIn’s Job Seeker Premium Group. Follow her on Facebook.

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